GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — David’s Bridal has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection just days after announcing thousands or workers will be laid off.
The company intends to fulfill all orders but in a court filing said that if a buyer is not found, stores may close. The uncertainty has some brides considering alternatives. Annie Lane Bridal expects some of those customers may come to its shops in Zeeland and Allegan.
“It’s really sad. There’s a lot of brides that do like David’s Bridal and go there,” owner Annie Hamstra said. “I’m not surprised a lot of stores have not made it past the pandemic. There’s still stores every day closing their doors.”
Custom dress orders can take a long time to arrive at stores.
“If you order a custom dress, it can take four on the really good side up to 12 months to get a dress,” Hamstra said.
Lindsay McLaughlin, owner of the wedding planning business Paper Hat Weddings, said there are options to prepare for a worst-case scenario.
“The best thing that you can do is reach out to whatever place it is that you purchased your dress and just say, ‘Hey, here is my order number. This is what I’ve purchased. Here’s my receipt. Can I get an update?’” McLaughlin said.
Hamstra said you should check David’s Bridal’s cancellation policy and look for alternative options if you are concerned the company may not be able to provide the dress. If it comes in, do not delay in picking it up.
“I would be checking on the status of my order every day, if not every week. So if you have an order that’s placed and they are saying that they’re going to fulfill them but if things change, I would start to get worried if you have a wear date like in two months or less,” Hamstra said.
If the dress is delayed or a bride is concerned the company may not be able to fulfill the order, there are other options.
“They’ll give you as much information as they can and then make an informed decision. And if it’s going to make you feel better to go and get a backup dress, then that’s what you need to do,” McLaughlin said.
Annie Lane Bridal does not custom-order dresses and is used to helping brides find quick alternatives.
“Every wedding dress in this store is off the rack and can go home with the bride the day she picks it out, so we deal with brides who are getting married next month, next week, and also next year or the year after that. So we just have a different business model,” Hamstra said.
She knows the challenges facing the industry, especially when demand rose as the country emerged from the pandemic.
“It was the perfect business model because at that time, dresses were not shipping from China so there were a lot of brides stranded with no dress for their wedding,” Hamstra said.
McLaughlin said the industry struggled to survive the pandemic. As things got better, there was a boom of pent-up demand, but now it’s starting to drop.
“From here in Michigan, we’re all kind of feeling that little bit of lull,” McLaughlin said.
Plus, growing options for brides who can rent a dress or buy off the rack is making it hard for traditional brick-and-mortar bridal shops.
“A large saturation of online shopping for dresses and things in the market that are now coming out and a little bit of the styles not necessarily having to be super custom anymore,” McLaughlin said.
David’s Bridal has not announced if any specific stores will be closed. Its West Michigan locations are in Grand Rapids and Portage.